By Bill O'Brien
TRAVERSE CITY — The Bay Area Transportation will phase out an in-town bus route in a move the agency estimates will save $200,000 annually.
Traverse Express will cease by May 14, BATA officials said this week. BATA introduced Express 2½ years ago as part of its Cherriot fixed-route service to create a bus line that mostly traveled around the city's outskirts. But officials said it didn't produce anticipated ridership, and other fixed routes can serve most stops.
"We didn't get the ridership we need off it," said Carrie Thompson, BATA's business development director. "It was sort of confusing."
BATA hired a transit consultant to evaluate existing services and recommend new routes, and the decision to trim Express is among changes being implemented, Thompson said. Traverse Express served 11 bus stops at sites including the BATA office on Cass Road, the Grand Traverse and Cherryland malls, Northwestern Michigan College and other locations.
Nine of the 11 stops are already served by other fixed-route runs, although stops at Kohl's department store and NMC's Aero Park Campus will be without fixed-route service. Dial-a-ride service will be available at those locations, Thompson said.
Information on alternate service available at Traverse Express stops is available on BATA's website at www.bata.net. More information on available dial-a-ride service is available at (231) 941-2324.